top of page

January 5, 2023 | Faith, Community and Non-Profit Leader Check-In Meeting

Our every other week check-in meeting is open to anyone interested in supporting compassionate community response to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meetings are held online every other Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Email LeDayne Polaski for Zoom access code. In addition, if you would like to receive notification when these minutes are posted, please email LeDayne and ask to be added to the Thursday meetings email list.

Want to learn more about we do on our calls? Watch this short video clip!


Click Here to Access Zoom Recording:


In this Issue:



1/5: Thursday Leader Calls Resume – Continue every other week at 11 a.m. via Zoom – Open to all people interested in collaborating for the common good in our community

1/10: GreenFaith Presents "The Letter" at Myers Park Baptist Church from 6:30-8:30pm.

1/15: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March and Wreath-laying Memorial Event – 2 to 3 pm (gather starting at 1)

1/17: 12-1pm webinar – Charlotte Clubhouse

1/27-28: Myers Park Baptist will host: Confronting Whiteness conference in person and virtual.

2/1: LWV Civics 101 course begins

2/11: Service project with the Latin American Coalition – 9:30 to 4:00 pm -- All ages, volunteers sign up for time slots

2/23: Potlucks for Pluralism dinner dialogue at Islamic Center of Greater Charlotte – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Open to local college students

2/26: Interfaith Youth Panel at Myers Park United Methodist Church from 5-6:30 pm -- Open to all middle and high school youth and those who work with them

2/27: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Amid COVID-19: Reflection, Response, and Resiliency: February 27, 2023 | 9:00am-12:15pm,

2/28: Potlucks for Pluralism dinner dialogue at the Hindu Center -- – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Open to local college students

3/16: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Amid COVID-19: Reflection, Response, and Resiliency, March 16, 2023 | 12:00om-3:15pm,

3/21: Open Tables – 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. – Location TBA – Open to all adults interested in substantive conversations with people of other faiths

3/21: How to hold a Living Room Conversation Training – 7 to 9 p.m. – Wingate University – Open to all involved in Potlucks for Pluralism

April - Service project, TBA

5/1: Volunteer opportunity to set up for Awards Breakfast – Covenant Presbyterian Church – 6 to 8 p.m. – open to all

5/2: Community Leaders Awards Breakfast – 7:30 to 9:00 a.m – open to all

5/7: Youth Community Service Project (afternoon time; location TBD) -- Open to all middle and high school youth and those who work with them

6/15: Open Tables -- – 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. – Location TBA – Open to all adults interested in substantive conversations with people of other faiths

July - Service project, TBA

8/18/19: Interfaith Youth Gathering (previously known as In Our Own Backyard) – Friday night and all-day Saturday, exact timing to be announced -- Open to all middle and high school youth and those who work with them

9/21: Open Tables -- 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. – Location TBA – Open to all adults interested in substantive conversations with people of other faiths

October - Service project, TBA

November (exact date TBA) - Youth Visit the Catawba Festival -- 9am – 1pm -- Open to all middle and high school youth and those who work with them

11/21: Interfaith Community Wide Thanksgiving service – Trinity Presbyterian Church – 7 to 9 p.m.

12/19: Open Tables -- – Location TBA – Open to all adults interested in substantive conversations with people of other faiths

Opening Reflection


1. MeckMIN Updates


May 2, 2023 | 7:30 - 9 AM | Covenant Presbyterian Church

  • Save the Date

  • Nomination forms are available on our website – PLEASE consider nominating a deserving person or group

  • Table Captains are needed – Please consider signing up HERE

  • Sponsorship opportunities will be available soon

NOMINATE AN EXEMPLARY LEADER 2023 Community Leader Awards Breakfast

We invite you to nominate an exemplary person or organization for one of our 2023 Community Leader Awards. The nomination process is now open – and the deadline to submit a nomination is Monday, February 6 by 5 p.m. If you’d like to make a nomination but are unsure whether the person/group has been honored by MeckMIN in the past, visit our webpage and scroll down to find the list of past recipients.

The Sydnor Thompson, Jr. Community Leader award goes to a local leader or organization that exemplifies leadership and collaboration across differences in the community, fosters interfaith understanding to promote racial and ethnic understanding, and addresses social needs in the community. This award is most often given to someone who does this work as part of their career – such as a clergy person or nonprofit professional.

The Bridge Builder award goes to someone who directly promotes one-on-one relationships and bridge building across differences through their actions and daily life.

This award is most often given to someone who does this work as a volunteer.


MeckMIN will continue these calls, Potlucks for Pluralism, and solidarity events. In addition, we will now do one monthly event and these will include Volunteer Events, Youth Events and Open Tables which will rotate on a quarterly basis. The initial events are featured below and the full schedule, as currently understood, is above:

  • Quarterly VOLUNTEER EVENT: LAC Resource fair for New Arrivals – February 11 Event – 10 to 3 -- Volunteer shifts available starting at 9:30 and ending at 4:00, We could use volunteers and also information from organizations that can support and connect with new arrivals. Sign up HERE

  • Quarterly YOUTH Event: INTERFAITH PANEL: February 26 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It will be open to any middle or high school youth in the county. Sign up HERE

  • Quarterly Open Tables -- Quarterly in 2023 and open to all – dates above Sign up HERE for March 21st Open Tables

No more East Charlotte events from MeckMIN but CharlotteEAST will continue those meetings. To get on the mailing list, reach out to Greg Asciutto <>


Tamara Hawkins (she/her) |

Karina Gonzalez, RD, LDN | Latino/Hispanic Community Liaison

(980) 314-9061 (office), (704) 591-6840 (cell)


  • As of January 6, 2023, Mecklenburg County has once again moved to COVID-19 Community Level High, per the CDC. This is based on the level of new cases (per 100k residents) coupled with new hospital admissions and inpatient beds metrics. Weekly data metrics are now being maintained at the state level NC DHHS and can be found here: All of our CV19 metrics are high and trending upward. These metrics are determined using reports into the ER with CV19 like illness, wastewater CV19 detection and hospitalizations

  • Flu activity is high in NC and all states surrounding NC are in the Very High category (highest category) Take precautions against respiratory viruses (distancing, frequent handwashing and masking when in tight, populated areas or if immunocompromised)

  • January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month- getting your HPV vaccine if eligible is the best way to prevent cervical cancer (as well as other cancers that HPV cause such as throat and mouth cancer and anal cancer

  • CV19, Flu and MPox vaccinations are available at our Northwest Health Department location and Southeast Health Department locations- Walk-ins are welcome during regular business hours

  • Most children 6 months to 4 years are now eligible for their updated COVID-19 vaccine, which offers the most up-to-date protection against COVID-19 variants. These vaccine doses are becoming available in North Carolina this week following the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation.  The updated vaccine is a bivalent vaccine that targets both the original coronavirus strain and Omicron variants. Like previous COVID-19 shots, children 6 months through 4 years get a smaller dose of this updated vaccine than other age groups. Children under 5 should get the same vaccine brand for all recommended doses. Children are eligible for the updated dose of their COVID-19 vaccine if they are: 

  • 6 months to 5 years and got their last dose of a Moderna vaccine at least two months ago 

  • 6 months to 4 years who already had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and are ready for their third dose 

  • Children 6 months and older may be able to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine and other routine vaccines they are due for at the same visit, including during routine checkups.

  • Parents should talk with a health care provider to make sure their child is up to date on COVID-19 and other vaccines. The updated vaccine, like all COVID-19 vaccines, is safe to get alongside the annual flu shot.   We need your help to make sure every North Carolinian has easy access to the information they need to protect themselves and others.

  • Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are still free to everyone through federal funding, regardless of insurance or immigration status. When federal funding ends, COVID-19 vaccines will be available like flu shots and other routine vaccinations but may no longer be free for everyone. Flu vaccines are often available at little to no cost.

  • To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines including nearby providers, visit or contact the CDC-INFO Contact Center at 800-CDC-INFO. For information on testing and treatments, visit


The White House said it decided to shift existing money to buy more tests and relaunch the popular program as Covid cases started increasing again.

o Households can now order a total of four rapid Covid tests for free at

o Orders will ship free starting the week of December 19, 2022.

o Limit of one order per residential address.

Where to Get Free COVID Tests


CDC Weekly Flu Map

NCDHHS Respiratory Virus Surveillance Dashboard


MCPH has worked with Mecklenburg AHEC to develop and implement a new live FREE training on Child and Adolescent Mental Health. There are two offerings, one in February and another in March- Please share with your populations for those interested:

2. Non-Profit Updates


Sarai Ordonez |

Daniel Alvarez-Orlachia | | Research Assistant, Camino Research Institute

Camino houses A fitness center, health center and A church. Research institute identifies the strengths and needs of Latino community across the state. Conduct research through community based participatory research. That means rooted in the community and conducting with the community. Equitable, and building on community strengths.

Community has grown enormously in the past 10 years. Camino aims to get 5K responses by the end and they currently have 1312 people. It is a 15 minute anonymous electronic survey for NC Latinos 18 and older. Started with a pilot in Mecklenburg County and got 458 responses to the survey and 36 participants in focus groups. Released the initial report based on those responses in September 2022. Made a one-pager and video and infographics.


  • 30% of respondents were undocumented

  • 15% were temporary residents

  • Most had less than high school graduation requirement

  • They offered that their largest strengths were volunteering, entrepreneurship, bilingualism, cultural diversity, work ethic and more.

  • About 45% said they have experienced discrimination, mostly through an employer and via language discrimination.

  • Average level of need for services: largest were around health care (dental, vision and preventive health)

  • ¾ did not receive regular dental because no access via insurance or ability to pay. 60% no vision for same reasons.

  • Huge disparity of insurance covered rates between permanent residents and undocumented and temporary residents.

  • Nearly 68% had never received counseling or therapy.

  • Vast majority Latinos said they would reach out first to faith leaders for help – God, Pastor or Church.

For the full report go to: Take the survey if you are eligible and ask others to participate and share on your socials. Working now on Western N Carolina.


Charlotte Clubhouse | Linda Vigen Phillips |

Whether you are a stakeholder, an advocate in the field of mental health, or a person with lived experience, we know you would want to hear this good news: Charlotte Clubhouse is OPEN for business!

Linda Phillips grew up with a mother with bipolar disorder. Wrote a book and got into mental health care. She helped set up a drop in center for people with mental illness and their family. Our local community has almost 50K people with serious mental illness so founded Charlotte Clubhouse (in Commonwealth United Methodist Church)

We invite you to join our free Lunch and Learn webinar on Tuesday, January 17 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Learn how we are following the evidence-based Clubhouse International model to create the following opportunities for persons with mental illness:

  • a safe place to be yourself

  • a sense of community

  • a work-ordered day

  • a place to build relationships

  • a risk-free environment

  • free lifetime membership

Visit our website to register, there, a popup will appear to signup for the webinar.

We look forward to sharing a common goal: restoring the dreams and dignity of persons with mental illness.


Rachelle Chretien Fink | Principal | | 980-343-5525

Amira A Abdelhafiz | | 980-343-5525

This is an incredible program available through the public schools. Please share the enrollment info and encourage your community to enroll. Multi grade level classes, multiple learning modalities (kinetic, aural, etc.) and teachers are certified. Caters to the whole child. The school is ethnically diverse and open to all.


Each year, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee (CRC) leads a community-wide celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK). The MLK National Holiday Celebration is also an opportunity to recognize those who are committed to carrying his legacy from generation to generation. In the spirit of diversity, inclusion, understanding and service to one another, the MLK Celebration planning committee is seeking to expand its reach and participation by coordinating a March that will lead into the 30-minute wreath-laying memorial ceremony.

1 PM: March at Hal Marshall Center – open to all. Begins at 2pm

3 PM: Clergy invited to wreath laying ceremony with Dawn Anthony and others.

January 27/28: Myers Park Baptist will host: Confronting Whiteness conference in person and virtual. The ways Christianity has perpetuated whiteness.


Kristine Arnau | | 980-355-2971

MPH Program Coordinator - Age Friendly Mecklenburg

Age-Friendliness of Transportation Discussion Guide

Age-Friendly Mecklenburg (AFM) is a collective planning initiative to enhance quality of life for older adults in Mecklenburg County. AFM would like to better understand if there are any challenges with access to transportation for older adults. As many adults seek resources and support from within their faith communities, AFM appreciates the partnership with MeckMIN to gain more insight into the topic of transportation.

  • What barriers or concerns do you have when traveling throughout your community? a. Examples: No access to a vehicle, safety, limited physical capabilities, etc.

  • What is the primary form of transportation for older adults in your community? a. Examples: Owns a vehicle, dependent on a family member, pays for transportation service (cab, Uber/Lyft), utilizes public transportation services (MTS, STS).

  • Do older adults know about public transportation services including bus routes, LYNX schedule, Mecklenburg Transportation System (MTS), or Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), or Special Transportation Services (STS)?

Please reach out to schedule a meeting or coordinate more deeply to meet the needs of elders.


They partner to help establish Faith Community Nursing model: A licensed nurse within the faith community or a lay person promoting health. They provide training for both. They can promote health and wellness. Reach out to Sheila if you are interested in the program.

Roles in the Faith Community Health Ministry
Download PPTX • 391KB


Rev. Amy Brooks Paradise | | +1-704-458-4438

I am happy to invite you to join our local GreenFaith circles and friends for a viewing of the film called “The Letter” on January 10 at Myers Park Baptist Church from 6:30-8:30pm. This is a great opportunity for your congregation to meet other people in our Charlotte community working on creation care and environmental justice.


In 2015, Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’ (Praised Be); it is a encyclical letter about the environmental crisis from the Pope to every single person in the world. A few years later, four voices that have gone unheard in global conversations have been invited to an unprecedented dialogue with the Pope. Hailing from Senegal, the Amazon, India, and Hawai’i, they bring perspective and solutions from the poor, the indigenous, the youth, and wildlife into a conversation with Pope Francis himself. The documentary follows their journey to Rome and the extraordinary experiences that took place there. This film is packed with deeply moving personal stories and images and highlight the power of faith and the importance of love and community to address the planetary crisis we face. Please join us!!


April C. Turner | | 704-594-0386


3. General Information


Terry Howard, Marketing Coordinator | 704-372-3010 ext. 214

The Charlotte Area Fund is offering free classes on jobs that are in high demand. Please see the attached flyers for upcoming classes. For more detailed information please contact Terry Howard, organization representative.


Angelica Castaneda-Noorbakhsh | | 704-618-3900 Prevention Educator

Alianza will be conducting another Familia Adelante cohort, where the focus this time is on CMS youth and their families. Attached you will find the flyers in Spanish and English with all the information related to the program and the QR code so families can register to this successful evidence-based, national prevention program. Familia Adelante is free and open to parents and their children ages 10 to 15 who attend CMS.


Pastors for NC Children is a nonpartisan nonprofit mobilizing faith communities to advocate for public education. PNCC is seeking a Communications Contractor for 8hr/week to help with social media, digital newsletters, and other communications. PNCC is based in downtown Raleigh, but this position is remote and flexible. Full job description and details are available HERE: Send resume and cover letter to Executive Director Suzanne Parker Miller at


Diego Torres |

Nearly 6 SUVs full of coats and winter have been gathered by LAC. Thank you


Civics 101, the League of Women Voters of Charlotte Mecklenburg’s premier civics education program is back! Six sessions covering voting, county government, city government, CMS and the school board, county courts and media literacy will take place Wednesday evenings from 6-8:30pm from Feb. 1 through Mar. 8. The program will be offered both in-person (limited to 50 participants) and virtually. Please consider taking part in this dynamic program and/or recommending it to friends and family. Participants will hear from the likes of Michael Dickerson, Director of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections; Joe Bruno, reporter for WSOCTV; Ann Doss Helms, Education reporter for WFAE; Diego Barahona, Editor of La Noticia; an Herbert White, Editor-in-Chief of The Charlotte Post.

February 1: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Elections February 8: Mecklenburg County Government February 15: Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and Board of Education February 22: Charlotte City Government March 1: Mecklenburg County Court System March 8: Local Media Panel and Vote411

Register HERE Civics 101 - Winter Session


Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023 is the last day of Open Enrollment! After this date, new health insurance policies will only be available to those with qualifying life events or those who make 100-150% of the Federal Poverty Level.

If you need to enroll or update coverage for 2023, connect with a health insurance navigator ASAP!

3 Ways to Connect

  1. Schedule an appointment by calling 980-256-3782

  2. Schedule an appointment online at

  3. Walk up to one of our open enrollment events and we’ll help you!


Join the Point-in-Time Count on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. This is the one night each year when our community comes together to survey each person experiencing sheltered or unsheltered homelessness throughout Mecklenburg County. It is also the time when Charlotte captures temporary and permanent housing capacity across the housing continuum. Mecklenburg County Community Support Services leads the Point-in-Time Count, with support from Roof Above (among other organizations).

2023 marks a return to utilizing volunteers to conduct the unsheltered count and the county needs your help to ensure a successful event.




Joy is the most infallible sign of God’s presence. – Leon Bloy

Even as you work with heavy issues and difficult problems, may you have joy.

Next meeting – TWO weeks from today – Thursday, January 19th at 11 AM


bottom of page